This Impact Report is a work in progress, as we and the wider market improve upon our methods of measurement and the tools available to us become more sophisticated.
As a result, we are reporting on the performance that we feel is attributable to our efforts, whist introducing the framework for our potential impact at scale, because this will be the basis on which we develop and iterate upon KPIs for the years ahead.
In the last two years, we have been able to minimise certain financial costs and emissions by adopting a predominantly home-working set-up. Growing the business will necessitate some changes to that approach, even for a digital business.
Engagement with new business partners will incur downstream impact. Our scope emissions will be increased, making accurate forecasting challenging.
A welcome challenge, nonetheless.
Our report is intended to indicate our achievements, challenges and be a document with which we may communicate our efforts to employees, shareholders and fellow SMEs, as we move towards delivering the goals of our business.
What do we do?
Karfu is a new, impartial ‘mobility’ comparison website
Our tools help consumers discover, understand and compare the lifetime financial and environmental costs of different private travel choices.
We show you how to compare different vehicles: cars, scooters, electric bikes and more. Our results show how much each of these cost to acquire and to run over their lifetime, plus how best to access them according to your personal circumstances.
We break down the different options including vehicle finance, leasing, subscription, sharing and rental. Alongside this information, we display the lifecycle environmental impact of each vehicle and planned use case.
This means we can help to explain how to balance financial cost with switching to more environmentally friendly vehicles.
Karfu can help you find better value, save time on vehicle research and contribute to saving the planet, by making it easy to switch to more sustainable mobility choices.
We are reporting on our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
In 2021, a Net Zero Survey conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) indicated that only 1 in 10 SMEs were measuring their carbon emissions. Without a legal requirement for measuring and reporting, the onus is on businesses to take those steps for themselves.
As a B Corporation and as a committed member of the Tech Zero initiative and SME Climate Hub, we believe it is the right thing to do and are happy to be a part of helping to set the standard.
Because we are a growing business, we may not successfully capture all of our emissions at the first attempt.
Our formative years were spent in lockdown, under primarily home-working conditions. This will not be representative of our normal business circumstances in years to come.
Preparing and iterating upon this report will be a learning exercise and is one reason why we have chosen to collaborate with Planet Mark in evaluating our footprint and setting realistic targets.
As a digital-first business, Scope 3 is where the bulk of Karfu’s emissions will lie.
What is covered?
Direct emissions from the combustion of fuel in assets that a company operates, such as fuel emissions from company-owned cars, diesel generators, gas boilers and air-conditioning leaks.
Indirect emissions from the generation of energy purchased from a utility provider, such as heating, cooling, steam, and electricity.
All indirect greenhouse gas emissions that do not fall under scope 2 - upstream and downstream, including upstream emissions from purchased goods and services, capital goods, upstream transport and distribution, plus business travel.
Home-working doesn’t tell the whole story but it is a starting point from which to build.
We have decided to set 2022 as our baseline.
In 2021, we completed our first assessment with Planet Mark (for the period 1st April 2020 - 31st March 2021), whilst focusing more on developing the product and business. 2022 was our second reporting cycle. Both periods encompassed periods of lockdown and enforced home-working.
2021-2022 saw a mixture of (mostly) remote and (occasional) shared office working, as we added to the team, making this period a more realistic point of comparison, going forward.
One observation is that it is not necessary for all of our team to be based in London. In the last few months, which will be captured in next year’s report, there will be additional impact on which to report, including occasional employee commuting.
Below, under the section ‘What’s not in this report?’, we look ahead to the impact costs not yet captured in our reporting and address how we have attempted to calculate them.
Whilst these do not yet count towards our assessment, which currently includes only home working and feet travel, we are keen to develop our understanding through experimentation, even if our early efforts are flawed.
Because our resources are limited, not every solution can be paid. Frequently, we rely upon the resourcefulness and ingenuity of our team.
Net Zero by 2035
2050 feels unambitious, yet we also want to be realistic about our ability to reduce as we scale.
Our forecasts for growth over the next four years include the expectation that we will continue to expand the team into 2027 and, as a result, are likely to occupy premises in a central London location.
As the Karfu website grows, the emissions generated from hosting and traffic are expected to increase. Similarly, a larger headcount is anticipated to result in increased emissions, whether from a contribution derived from home-working, or directly from the use of office space.
These assumptions do not take into consideration the potential for advances in net zero hosting technology, or our future ability to afford to pay extra for green energy solutions, including a fully offset workplace.
Each year, we will learn more about managing our emissions and what is realistic to achieve. We will continue to engage with our employees about lessening their impact whilst working from home, commuting and using office space.
In the course of our efforts to explore appropriate offsetting projects that may be of interest to our users and through regular consultation with our own sustainability accreditor, the Planet Mark, we will continue to monitor opportunities to bring forward this target and be transparent about where we are falling short.
We will review the options available to us in each reporting year and update on our progress in the next iteration of this document.
Short Term Goals
We have annual goals for our business and for our employees
How will we get there?
Because we are small and growing, our total carbon footprint will increase.
Addressing our per employee footprint is the most realistic approach to meeting our targets in the short term, starting with the recruitment process, through continuous engagement:
In our interview and hiring process, we emphasise our business commitment to sustainability and seek like-minded members of the team.
We share information about energy efficiency at home and encourage suggestions for what we could each do differently, whether changing energy supplier or switching other services, like delivery.
Our product tools, which the whole team tests regularly, detail the environmental lifecycle impact of different vehicle types and access methods.
1) Air Quality data adds to the GHG impact picture.
2) Health (in the form of calorie burn) data encourages active travel.
We encourage our team to be resourceful, to interrogate resources and challenge us on our knowledge and understanding.
We encourage each-other to support sustainable businesses, where feasible.
Offsetting vs Reducing
Why don’t we just pay to offset our total footprint?
Aside from having limited resources, we are of the opinion that paying is not the same as actively trying to reduce our own impact, which would in turn require less paid offsetting.
We do directly contribute to sustainability causes as part of our annual certification, supporting The Eden Project and Cool Earth.
As a sustainable business, we are supportive of renewable energy initiatives and projects which deliver measurable social impacts.
Nevertheless, Offsetting will be a feature of our product.
A future iteration of our website tool will allow our users to have visibility of similar charitable causes which contribute to net zero, when they consider offsetting their lifecycle impact.
We will monitor the level of uptake and the messaging associated with offsetting, because we want our customers to understand the value of active reduction ahead of paying to counter their impact.
Although our impact is slight, some data is not captured under a home-working assessment.
Because the last two reporting periods have covered periods when furthering the business could be conducted by a very small team, without the need for premises and many external resources, they do not necessarily capture all of the emissions for which we are directly and indirectly responsible.
- Although we have been in a position to take-on additional staff, our ability to influence the carbon footprint of their home-working set-up is limited to the information and guidance we share, as well as each individual’s ability to act upon it, whether owner or tenant.
- In this reporting cycle, home energy costs are also representing the use of software for meetings, online collaboration etc.
- Whilst we made no business trips in the period, some paper and plastic waste will have occurred at home in the course of routine working, although not of designated office supplies.
We will also have incurred some operational impact costs in the form of legal and administrative expenses.
We lack sufficient data points with which to set realistic KPIs.
- The next reporting period should allow us to capture sufficient additional measurements from which to establish science-led reduction targets and set a reduction plan that we can observe over time.
What’s not in this report?
Our digital footprint, though light whilst in Beta, will grow once launched to the public.
Karfu’s main product is a website, which means there are impact costs associated with its hosting, upkeep and consumer use.
Karfu uses AWS servers, which claim to be 80% less carbon intensive than other enterprise data centres.
Whilst AWS aims to be powered with 100% renewable energy by 2025%, we will continue to take into consideration that our impact is not zero and have attempted to calculate our footprint using free online resources.
Karfu has made steps to approximate the carbon footprint attributable to its digital presence (a) for hosting and (b) for user activity in the form of visits (which combines assumptions for new and return users).
Leaning on emissions information from Sustainable Web Design as a guide, we have taken data from our Google Analytics software to calculate g/CO2e per visit equivalent of the kWh generated per visit to the site, which we estimate to be 0.24 g/CO2e.
With the change in energy costs already seen this year, it will be interesting to revisit our methodology in the next period and see the impact of increased traffic.
We expect to be able to cover: the total number of users; time spent; device type used.
This should enable us to iterate upon our calculation and arrive at a value for g/CO2e per search conducted on our site.
We have shared this methodology with our assessors at Planet Mark and will also review the available paid and free resources for helping us to calculate more accurately in the next period.
What's not in this report?
Our Shared Workspace footprint, whilst infrequent this year, is represented under home-working.
Despite using a shared workspace only a handful of times during the year, we felt it was appropriate to try to calculate what the additional carbon impact would be, if included, because it will also trigger an assessment of employee commuting.
1) We made some basic assumptions around the amount of space required.
2) The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) tells us that 11,670,000 of floor space, results in 1,062,048 of carbon dioxide emissions.
3) Without bottom-up data, like meter readings, this is indicatively 0.091 tonnes of CO2 per square metre, each year.
4) The UK legally required minimum is 11 cubic metres, per person, equivalent to 4.9461 m2.
5) We used 5 m2.
6) In the absence of floor-specific data from our shared office provider, we used the EPC rating of the building as a proxy.
7) We have since learned that this is not a reliable value and may vary by more than 10% from the correct figure. In future, obtaining an official energy rating for the workspace from the owner / operator may be a better approach.
8) This is an example of us trying to learn through experimentation, with the EPC certificate being an insufficient source of truth to make this calculation viable for our use.
9) Nevertheless, our goal was to show a value. We can improve upon the methodology.
10) We calculated 0.94 kg/CO2e per employee, per day, an interesting consideration when planning ahead for our annual employee footprint reduction.
Karfu is committed to being a force for good and a sustainable business.
Our product helps people to understand the total financial and environmental impact of their private vehicle choices, comparing their current vehicle to alternatives.
By showing people how to affordably make the switch to more sustainable vehicle choices, we contribute to the reduction in carbon emissions generated by the use and in the lifecycle of these products.
Whilst we are not yet able to contribute to sustainability from our bottom line, we do so with our effort and commitment to the cause.
By measuring and reducing our carbon footprint with the Planet Mark, we directly contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs)
What is planned for next year’s report?
Some of our impact is upon our own people and our customers
Under the next reporting period, we will take into consideration the composition of our team, how it is changing and the successes (and failures) we have had in making a positive contribution at an individual level.
Several of these areas form a part of our B Corporation assessment and are items we have for internal improvement goals.
In the interests of transparency, we are happy to share them with you, too.
With the consent of our team members, we will also review and present:
- the gender and age split of the team
- the reflection of our customer users in the makeup of our team
- the resulting potential for product bias
- our volunteering hours
- our role as a UK and London living wage employer
- the low/high salary differential
Whilst we feel we have an appropriate, inclusive and supportive hiring and ongoing assessment process, there is always something which we can do better, lessons which have been incorporated into our onboarding and employee handbook documents.
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